The Coming Servant (3): Isaiah 49, 50 (6)
Pray Psalm 46.1.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Read Isaiah 50.7-11.
1. The Servant is commenting on His work in this passage. How does He conceive that work? What is His work?
2. What is the state of those who do not obey the voice of the Servant?
In this passage, the Servant is the primary speaker. In verses 7-9 He is contemplating His work. It will be difficult, but He knows that the Lord will help Him (vv. 7, 9). There is the danger of being disgraced (v. 7), of coming into conflict with an enemy (v. 8), and of coming under condemnation (v. 9). We can see in all these glimpses of the work of Christ: His passion, the shame of the cross, His struggle with the devil (“Let him come near Me”), and His bearing the wrath of God.
But the Servant has set His face “like flint” to go forward in His appointed work (v. 7, cf. Lk. 9.51). And whoever fears the Lord will listen to the voice of the Servant (v. 10). Who are they who do not? Those who walk in darkness and have no light (this should not be in the form of a question; in the Hebrew, there is no he interrogative beginning the sentence). To hear the voice of the Servant is to “trust in the name of the LORD” and to “rely upon his God” (v. 10).
Verse 11 probably describes a pagan safety ritual; all who choose this route rather than trusting in the Lord and listening to the voice of the Servant “shall lie down in torment” (v. 11).
It's not hard to see in this passage the close connection between the Servant and the LORD, and the voice of the Servant and the fear of the LORD.
1. What kinds of rituals do people turn to in order to ensure their safety and wellbeing, rather than to trust in the Lord?
2. How would you summarize the work of the Servant, as it is hinted at in this passage? Do you see how this matches up with the work of Christ? Explain.
3. How can you know when you fear the Lord?
For the railings, and insults, and reproaches and gibes inflicted by enemies and their plots are compared with a worn-out garment and moth-eaten wool when God says, “Do not fear the reproach of people, neither be afraid of their revilings, for they shall grow old as does a garment, and like moth-eaten wool so shall they be consumed.” Therefore, let none of these things that are happening trouble [you], but stop asking for the aid of this or that person and running after shadows (for such are human alliances); persistently call on Jesus, whom [you serve] … and in a moment of time all these evils will be dissolved. John Chrysostom (344-407 AD), Letter to Olympias 7.2
You are my help, O Lord, in all my struggles and trials, so help me always to…
Pray Psalm 46.
What’s troubling you today? Where are you tempted to seek refuge, other than in the Lord? As you pray this psalm, let it steer you into the safe harbor of our strong and loving Savior.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 46 (St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
God is our refuge and our strength; He is our help in times of need.
Thus though the earth beneath us should change, the sea consume the mountain range;
Waters may roar with raging speed; yet God will rescue us at length.
God’s everlasting, joyous grace gladdens the city where He dwells.
Safely in Him, we will not be moved; when morning dawns, His love will be proved.
Fears and distresses Jesus dispels for His beloved, chosen race.
Kingdoms arise and rage and roar, threat’ning the earth with sore distress;
Nations may fall, earth melt away, His Word is yet our hope and stay.
God is among us, ever to bless; He is our stronghold evermore.
Come see the works of God’s Right Hand! He breaks the nations of the earth,
Shatters their foolish weapons and pride, sets all their sinful strength aside;
Them He will show His infinite worth as they before His judgment stand.
Rest in the Lord and be at peace, all who are mired in sore travail:
Lift up our God, praise Jesus our Lord; proclaim to all the earth His Word!
God is our stronghold, never to fail: thus may our hope and joy increase!
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).